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I thought my father was God and other true tales from NPR's National Story Project /
edited and introduced by Paul Auster ; Nelly Reifler, assistant editor.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Henry Holt, 2001.
description
xxi, 383 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0805067140
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Paul Auster's began the National Story Project in October 1999. He lives in Brooklyn, New York
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Original Voices Award, USA, 2002 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2001-06-04:
Finally, a bathroom book worthy of Pulitzer consideration: the one- to three-page stories gathered in this astonishing, addictive collection are absolute gems. In 1999, novelist Paul Auster (Timbuktu) and the hosts of National Public Radio's All Things Considered asked listeners to send in true stories to be read on-air as part of the National Story Project. Auster received more than 4,000 submissions; the 180 best are published here. The result is "an archive of facts, a museum of American reality." Auster is particularly interested in stories that "def[y] our expectations about the world, anecdotes that [reveal] the mysterious and unknowable forces at work in our lives." Accordingly, a vast number of the stories involve incredible, stranger-than-fiction coincidences: a pendant lost in the ocean off Atlantic City that's discovered 10 years later in a Lake Placid antique shop; the missing pieces of a china set handpainted by the author's grandmother that mysteriously surface at a flea market; a man who turns purple and dies just after being told to "drop dead." Others, while not as improbable, are no less powerful: an anecdote about a ruined birthday cake, for instance, leads one contributor to muse that fighting is "an intimate gesture reserved for the people close to you."; a small boy's realization that his mother has pawned her wedding ring so that she can buy him a school uniform serves as the knockout last line of one of the collection's quieter stories. (Sept.) Forecast: The renaissance in autobiographical writing, the accessibility of these captivating stories, and this title's appeal to all sorts of readers make this an ideal gift book. The push it will get from NPR should ensure robust sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2001-08-03:
In 2001, when NPR asked Auster to become a regular storyteller on Weekend All Things Considered, he wasn't interested. Then his wife suggested that he ask people to send him their stories to read on the air, and a few months later the National Story Project with was born. From some 4000 stories, Auster has selected 179, grouping them in loose categories: animals, objects, families, slapstick, strangers, war, love, death, dreams, and meditations. All are short, all are true, and they can be sad, hilarious, or both at the same time. In the title piece, Robert Winnie's father tells someone to drop dead and he does! In another, a grandson who has made his grandmother furious hears his grandfather tell him, "You are my revenge." Others tell of impossible coincidences, difficult lives, and wonderful comebacks. As this collection ably proves, we all shape experience into stories, and Auster has done a storyteller's job himself of grouping the pieces effectively. Highly recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/01.] Mary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L., Westminster, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"These stories have their own sly power. They remind us of what real life is . . . They are raw stories, and that's their strength as truth."San Francisco Chronicle "Human foibles and frailties, laughter and tears . . . We are all hearingand tellingstories all the time, especially now, in these days when life itself seems so fragile and precious. But Paul Auster's wonderful efforts, choosing these fine stories, have given us a timely and invaluable reminder of what it means to listen to really listento America talking."New Orleans Times-Picayune "Wherever you go on this handsome anthology, the tale is taut, quick and has a payoff, a punch line. I Thought My Father Was God is a huge national family history."Neil Schmitz, Buffalo News "Encompasses the comic and the tragic, the absurd and the surreal, the mundane and the ethereal."Kirkus Reviews "This is the stuff of life. You can take this message from I Thought My Father Was God . . . Everyone has a story. Also: The art of storytelling is alive and well . . . Of course, there's the obvious question: These stories may work on the radio, but do they translate to print? Yes indeed, and one could argue that they're even more potent read than heard. Reading these essays in private creates a sense of intimacy with 180 people, one at a time. This is a powerful book, one in which strangers share with you their darkest secrets, their happiest memories, their fears, their regrets. To read these essays is to look into hearts, to see life from other viewpoints, to live vicariously."Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe "When novelist Auster was invited to become a regular contributor to National Public Radio, he hesitated because he didn't want to write 'stories on command.' 'Why not solicit stories from listeners?' his wife, Siri Hustvedt, suggested. And so Auster asked for succinctly written true stories, and within a year, he received more than 4,000 submissions. He's read them all, some on the air, and selected 180 of the best and most representative to create a unique and unexpectedly affecting book. Here are clearly written and simply told stories 'by people of all ages and from all walks of life' that Auster, his wonder and respect palpable, organized into 10 intriguing categories: animals, objects, families, slapstick, strangers, war, love, death, dreams, and meditations. These are stop-you-in-your-tracks stories about hair-raising coincidences, miracles, tragedies, redemption, and moments of pure hilarity. These impossible and indelible tales encompass reincarnated pets, lost and found items and loved ones, prophecies, and saved lives. There's something magical and electrifying about the realities these modest tales reveal, the hidden dimensions of human life, an amazing mosaic of mysterious occurrences and connections that are, apparently, as common as dust, as precious as love."Donna Seaman, Booklist "In 2001, when NPR asked Auster to become a regular storyteller on Weekend All Things Considered, he wasn't interested. Then his wife suggested that he ask people to send him their stories to read on the air, and a few months later the National Story Project with was born. From some 4000 stories, Auster has selected 180, grouping them in loose categories: animals, objects, families, slapstick, strangers, war, love, death, dreams, and meditations. All are short, all are true, and they can be sad, hilarious, or both at the same time. In the title piece, Robert Winnie's father tells someone to drop dead and he does! In another, a grandson who has made his grandmother furious hears his grandfather tell him, 'You are my revenge.' Others tell of impossible coincidences, difficult lives, and wonderful comebacks. As this collection ably proves, we all shape ex
"These stories have their own sly power. They remind us of what real life is . . . They are raw stories, and that''s their strength as truth." San Francisco Chronicle "Human foibles and frailties, laughter and tears . . . We are all hearingand tellingstories all the time, especially now, in these days when life itself seems so fragile and precious. But Paul Auster''s wonderful efforts, choosing these fine stories, have given us a timely and invaluable reminder of what it means to listen to really listento America talking." New Orleans Times-Picayune "Wherever you go on this handsome anthology, the tale is taut, quick and has a payoff, a punch line. I Thought My Father Was Godis a huge national family history."Neil Schmitz,Buffalo News "Encompasses the comic and the tragic, the absurd and the surreal, the mundane and the ethereal." Kirkus Reviews "This is the stuff of life. You can take this message from I Thought My Father Was God. . . Everyone has a story. Also: The art of storytelling is alive and well . . . Of course, there''s the obvious question: These stories may work on the radio, but do they translate to print? Yes indeed, and one could argue that they''re even more potent read than heard. Reading these essays in private creates a sense of intimacy with 180 people, one at a time. This is a powerful book, one in which strangers share with you their darkest secrets, their happiest memories, their fears, their regrets. To read these essays is to look into hearts, to see life from other viewpoints, to live vicariously."Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe "When novelist Auster was invited to become a regular contributor to National Public Radio, he hesitated because he didn''t want to write ''stories on command.'' ''Why not solicit stories from listeners?'' his wife, Siri Hustvedt, suggested. And so Auster asked for succinctly written true stories, and within a year, he received more than 4,000 submissions. He''s read them all, some on the air, and selected 180 of the best and most representative to create a unique and unexpectedly affecting book. Here are clearly written and simply told stories ''by people of all ages and from all walks of life'' that Auster, his wonder and respect palpable, organized into 10 intriguing categories: animals, objects, families, slapstick, strangers, war, love, death, dreams, and meditations. These are stop-you-in-your-tracks stories about hair-raising coincidences, miracles, tragedies, redemption, and moments of pure hilarity. These impossible and indelible tales encompass reincarnated pets, lost and found items and loved ones, prophecies, and saved lives. There''s something magical and electrifying about the realities these modest tales reveal, the hidden dimensions of human life, an amazing mosaic of mysterious occurrences and connections that are, apparently, as common as dust, as precious as love."Donna Seaman, Booklist "In 2001, when NPR asked Auster to become a regular storyteller on Weekend All Things Considered, he wasn''t interested. Then his wife suggested that he ask people to send him their stories to read on the air, and a few months later the National Story Projectwith was born. From some 4000 stories, Auster has selected 180, grouping them in loose categories: animals, objects, families, slapstick, strangers, war, love, death, dreams, and meditations. All are short, all are true, and they can be sad, hilarious, or both at the same time. In the title piece, Robert Winnie''s father tells someone to drop dead and he does! In another, a grandson who has made his grandmother furious hears his grandfather tell him, ''You are my revenge.'' Others tell of impossible coincidences, difficult lives, and wonderful comebacks. As this collection ably proves, we all shape experience into stories, and Auster has done a storyteller''s job himself of grouping the pieces effectively." Library Journal "Finally, a bathroom book worthy of Pulitzer consideration: the one- to three-page stories gathered in this astonishing, addictive collection are absolute gems. In 1999, novelist Paul Auster ( Timbuktu) and the hosts of National Public Radio''s All Things Consideredasked listeners to send in true stories to be read on-air as part of the National Story Project. Auster received more than 4,000 submissions; the 180 best are published here. The result is ''an archive of facts, a museum of American reality.'' Auster is particularly interested in stories that ''def[y] our expectations about the world, anecdotes that [reveal] the mysterious and unknowable forces at work in our lives.'' Accordingly, a vast number of the stories involve incredible, stranger-than-fiction coincidences: a pendant lost in the ocean off Atlantic City that''s discovered 10 years later in a Lake Placid antique shop; the missing pieces of a china set handpainted by the author''s grandmother that mysteriously surface at a flea market; a man who turns purple and dies just after being told to ''drop dead.'' Others, while not as improbable, are no less powerful: an anecdote about a ruined birthday cake, for instance, leads one contributor to muse that fighting is ''an intimate gesture reserved for the people close to you;'' a small boy''s realization that his mother has pawned her wedding ring so that she can buy him a school uniform serves as the knockout last line of one of the collection''s quieter stories." Publisher''s Weekly "Unforgettable testimonials of human resilience. Moving and amusing dispatches from across America." US Weekly(starred)
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, June 2001
Kirkus Reviews, July 2001
Library Journal, August 2001
Boston Globe, September 2001
Booklist, October 2001
Reference & Research Book News, February 2002
School Library Journal, July 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
I Thought My Father Was God gathers 180 of personal, true-life accounts in a single, powerful volume. They come from men and women of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life; together the contributors represent forty-two states.
Main Description
One of America's foremost writers collects the best stories submitted to NPR's popular monthly show--and illuminates the powerful role storytelling plays in all our lives When Paul Auster and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered introduced The National Story Project, the response was overwhelming. Not only was the monthly show a critical success, but the volume of submissions was astounding. Letters, emails, faxes poured in on a daily basis- more than 4,000 of them by the time the project celebrated its first birthday. Everyone, it seemed, had a story to tell. I Thought Mmy Father Wwas God gathers 180 of these personal, true-life accounts in a single, powerful volume. They come from people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Half of the contributors are men; half are women. They live in cities, suburbs, and rural areas, and they come from 42 different states. Most of the stories are short, vivid bits of narrative, combining the ordinary and the extraordinary, and most describe a single incident in the writer's life. Some are funny, like the story of how a Ku Klux Klan member's beloved dog rushed out into the street during the annual KKK parade and unmasked his owner as the whole town looked on. Some are mysterious, like the story of a woman who watched a white chicken walk purposefully down a street in Portland, Oregon, hop up some porch steps, knock on the door-and calmly enter the house. Many involve the closing of a loop, like the one about the woman who lost her mother's ashes in a burglary and recovered them five years later from the mortuary of a local church. Hilarious blunders, wrenching coincidences, brushes with death, miraculous encounters, improbable ironies, premonitions, sorrows, pains, dreams-this singular collection encompasses an extraordinary range of settings, time periods, and subjects. A testament to the important role storytelling plays in all our lives, I Thought My Father Was God offers a rare glimpse into the American soul.
Main Description
One of America's foremost writers collects the best stories submitted to NPR's popular monthly show--and illuminates the powerful role storytelling plays in all our lives When Paul Auster and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered introduced The National Story Project, the response was overwhelming. Not only was the monthly show a critical success, but the volume of submissions was astounding. Letters, emails, faxes poured in on a daily basis- more than 4,000 of them by the time the project celebrated its first birthday. Everyone, it seemed, had a story to tell. I Thought Mmy Father Wwas Godgathers 180 of these personal, true-life accounts in a single, powerful volume. They come from people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Half of the contributors are men; half are women. They live in cities, suburbs, and rural areas, and they come from 42 different states. Most of the stories are short, vivid bits of narrative, combining the ordinary and the extraordinary, and most describe a single incident in the writer's life. Some are funny, like the story of how a Ku Klux Klan member's beloved dog rushed out into the street during the annual KKK parade and unmasked his owner as the whole town looked on. Some are mysterious, like the story of a woman who watched a white chicken walk purposefully down a street in Portland, Oregon, hop up some porch steps, knock on the door-and calmly enter the house. Many involve the closing of a loop, like the one about the woman who lost her mother's ashes in a burglary and recovered them five years later from the mortuary of a local church. Hilarious blunders, wrenching coincidences, brushes with death, miraculous encounters, improbable ironies, premonitions, sorrows, pains, dreams-this singular collection encompasses an extraordinary range of settings, time periods, and subjects. A testament to the important role storytelling plays in all our lives, I Thought My Father Was Godoffers a rare glimpse into the American soul.
Main Description
One of America's foremost writers collects the best stories submitted to NPR's popular monthly show--and illuminates the powerful role storytelling plays in all our lives When Paul Auster and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered introduced The National Story Project, the response was overwhelming. Not only was the monthly show a critical success, but the volume of submissions was astounding. Letters, emails, faxes poured in on a daily basis- more than 4,000 of them by the time the project celebrated its first birthday. Everyone, it seemed, had a story to tell. I Thought Mmy Father Wwas Godgathers 180 of these personal, true-life accounts in a single, powerful volume. They come from people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Half of the contributors are men; half are women. They live in cities, suburbs, and rural areas, and they come from 42 different states. Most of the stories are short, vivid bits of narrative, combining the ordinary and the extraordinary, and most describe a single incident in the writer's life. Some are funny, like the story of how a Ku Klux Klan member's beloved dog rushed out into the street during the annual KKK parade and unmasked his owner as the whole town looked on. Some are mysterious, like the story of a woman who watched a white chicken walk purposefully down a street in Portland, Oregon, hop up some porch steps, knock on the door-and calmly enter the house. Many involve the closing of a loop, like the one about the woman who lost her mother's ashes in a burglary and recovered them five years later from the mortuary of a local church. Hilarious blunders, wrenching coincidences, brushes with death, miraculous encounters, improbable ironies, premonitions, sorrows, pains, dreams-this singular collection encompasses an extraordinary range of settings, time periods, and subjects. A testament to the important role storytelling plays in all our lives,I Thought My Father Was Godoffers a rare glimpse into the American soul.
Unpaid Annotation
One of America's foremost writers, novelist Paul Auster ("Timbuktu") and the host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered", collects the best stories submitted to NPR's popular show--and illuminates the powerful role of storytelling in all readers lives.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. xv
Animals
The Chickenp. 3
Rascalp. 4
The Yellow Butterflyp. 6
Pythonp. 7
Poohp. 9
New York Strayp. 11
Pork Chopp. 12
Bp. 14
Two Lovesp. 16
Rabbit Storyp. 17
Carolinap. 19
Andy and the Snakep. 21
Blue Skiesp. 24
Exposurep. 25
Vertigop. 27
Objects
Star and Chainp. 33
Radio Gypsyp. 34
A Bicycle Storyp. 36
Grandmother's Chinap. 39
The Bassp. 41
Mother's Watchp. 44
Case Closedp. 46
The Photop. 47
MS. Found in an Atticp. 49
Tempo Primop. 50
A Lesson Not Learnedp. 52
A Family Christmasp. 54
My Rocking Chairp. 55
The Unicyclep. 57
Moccasinsp. 59
The Striped Penp. 61
The Dollp. 63
The Videotapep. 66
The Pursep. 68
A Gift of Goldp. 70
Families
Rainoutp. 75
Isolationp. 76
Connectionsp. 78
The Wednesday Before Christmasp. 80
How My Father Lost His Jobp. 82
Danny Kowalskip. 85
Revengep. 87
Chrisp. 89
Put Your Little Footp. 92
Aunt Myrtlep. 95
American Odysseyp. 97
A Plate of Peasp. 99
Wash Guiltp. 101
Double Sadnessp. 103
A Picture of Lifep. 106
Margiep. 109
One Thousand Dollarsp. 111
Taking Leavep. 114
Act of Memoryp. 120
Slapstick
Bicoastalp. 125
A Felt Fedorap. 126
Man vs. Coatp. 127
That's Entertainmentp. 128
The Cakep. 129
Riding with Andyp. 131
Sophisticated Ladyp. 132
My First Day in Priest Clothesp. 133
Jewish Cowboyp. 134
How to Win Friends and Influence Peoplep. 135
Your Father Has the Hay Feverp. 136
Lee Ann and Holly Annp. 139
Why I Am Antifurp. 140
Airport Storyp. 142
Tears and Flapdoodlep. 144
The Club Carp. 146
Bronx Cheerp. 148
One Day in Higleyp. 150
Strangers
Dancing on Seventy-fourth Streetp. 153
A Conversation with Billp. 154
Greyhoundingp. 156
A Little Story about New Yorkp. 159
My Mistakep. 162
No Forwarding Addressp. 164
The New Girlp. 165
The Iceman of Market Streetp. 168
Me and the Babep. 171
Lives of the Poetsp. 172
Land of the Lostp. 173
Rainbowp. 175
Rescued by Godp. 177
My Storyp. 179
Small Worldp. 183
Christmas Morning, 1949p. 186
Brooklyn Robertsp. 188
$1,380 per Night, Double Occupancyp. 190
A Shot in the Lightp. 195
Snowp. 202
War
The Fastest Man in the Union Armyp. 207
Christmas, 1862p. 208
Mount Grappap. 210
Savenayp. 212
Fifty Years Laterp. 213
He Was the Same Age as My Sisterp. 214
Betting on Uncle Louiep. 216
The Ten-Goal Playerp. 218
The Last Handp. 220
August 1945p. 222
One Autumn Afternoonp. 224
I Thought My Father Was Godp. 226
The Celebrationp. 228
Christmas, 1945p. 230
A Trunk Full of Memoriesp. 232
A Walk in the Sunp. 235
A Shot in the Darkp. 237
Confessions of a Mouseketeerp. 239
Foreverp. 241
Utah, 1975p. 243
Love
What If?p. 247
The Mysteries of Tortellinip. 249
An Involuntary Assistantp. 251
The Plotp. 253
Mathematical Aphrodisiacp. 255
Table for Twop. 257
Suzy's Choosyp. 259
Top Buttonp. 260
Lace Glovesp. 262
Susan's Greetingsp. 263
Edithp. 264
Souls Fly Awayp. 267
Awaiting Deliveryp. 269
The Day Paul and I Flew the Kitep. 270
A Lesson in Lovep. 272
Ballerinap. 274
The Fortune Cookiep. 276
Death
Ashesp. 279
Harrisburgp. 281
Something to Think Aboutp. 283
Good Nightp. 285
Charlie the Tree Killerp. 287
Dead Man's Bluffp. 288
My Best Friendp. 290
I Didn't Knowp. 291
Cardiac Arrestsp. 293
Grandmother's Funeralp. 294
High Streetp. 296
A Failed Executionp. 297
The Ghostp. 299
Heart Surgeryp. 301
The Crying Placep. 302
Leep. 303
South Dakotap. 305
Connecting with Philp. 308
The Letterp. 310
Dress Rehearsalp. 312
The Anonymous Deciding Factorp. 315
Dreams
4:05 A.M.p. 319
In the Middle of the Nightp. 320
Bloodp. 321
T321 Interpretation of Dreamsp. 322
Half-Ballp. 323
Friday Nightp. 325
Farrellp. 327
"Jill,"p. 329
D-dayp. 330
The Wallp. 331
Heavenp. 333
My Father's Dreamp. 335
Parallel Livesp. 337
Anna Mayp. 340
Long Time Gonep. 342
Meditations
Sewing Lessonsp. 347
Sunday Drivep. 350
Mayonnaise Sandwichesp. 354
Seasidep. 355
After a Long Winterp. 358
Martini with a Twistp. 359
Nowherep. 362
Where in the World Is Era Rose Rodosta?p. 363
Peterp. 365
Early Arithmeticp. 368
Reflections on a Hubcapp. 371
Homeless in Prescott, Arizonap. 373
Being Therep. 376
An Average Sadnessp. 378
Index of Authorsp. 381
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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